Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ditching Our 'Ally' Pakistan

Since the bin-Laden killing, relations between the US and Pakistan have plummeted.And the US government isn't telling you the half of it, as Pakistan's complicity with our enemies continues to surface.

The Pakistani government, after turning over to the Chinese the wreckage of a US helicopter used in the bin-Laden raid equipped with advanced stealth technology arrested five Pakistani informants who helped the CIA find out where Osama bin-Laden was hiding out. In spite of US requests for their release, they're still imprisoned under charges of espionage.

The recent raid on the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan was carried out by members of the ISI backed Haqqani network, and the Pakistanis recently ordered the US to vacate a base in Pakistan used for drone attacks. To add to the mix, the CIA discovered beyond a shadow of a doubt that elements of the Pakistani military and ISI intelligence service were routinely tipping off jihadis about upcoming raids on factories used to manufacture armaments to be used against our forces in Afghanistan.

In response to this the US is finally taking steps it should have taken years ago. First of all, the US Congress is deferring and in some cases, canceling about $800 million in military aid out of the roughly $2 billion we annually give in baksheesh to Pakistan.

The second thing is fairly risky, but has needed doing for some time. The US is drastically shifting its logistic routes to Afghanistan from Pakistan to countries in Central Asia and is negotiating an agreement to withdraw over that route.

As I've mentioned here before, over 75% of the supplies for our forces in Afghanistan come via the Pakistani port of Karachi and then come overland to Afghanistan via the Torkhum pass. In 2009, it was 90%. The goal is to change that significantly by the year's end and avoid Pakistan as much as possible:

This isn't going to save any money. It merely means we'll be paying five countries or so baksheesh instead of one, and using an increased amount of more expensive air and water transport as opposed to overland and it's up to 3,000 miles longer. Essentially, this is the old Silk Road route through Central Asia, a long used commericial corridor. The hope is that our new 'partners' will be a lot less duplicitous and reliable and that at least the money we give them won't be actively used to fund and arm our enemies. Hopefully we can get to the point where we aren't giving Pakistan a dime.

The one huge drawback in all this is quite obvious if you look at a map. These countries all have significant relationships with Russia and China and are thus subject to pressure at what might be very inopportune times.

Imagine, just to look at a worst case scenario, that our forces are withdrawing and suddenly one or more of our highways out of Central Asia were cut off. Not good.

In a scenario like that, our warriors might well have to do a fighting withdrawal though Pakistan to get to Karachi.

In any event, our enabling of the basket case of a country called Pakistan seems to be coming to an end.

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1 comment:

B.Poster said...

I'm thinking we need to siwhtdraw right now without delay. Russia and China are the most powerful countries on earth, neither of them like us very much, and neither of them much like us being in Afghanistan. With our forces in that part of the world this runs the risk of military conflict with either of these countries. This would be a military conflict we cannot win and we cannot afford.

If its possible, I'd suggest negotiating a withdrawl from this region with Russia and China. Perhaps in exchange for something they might be willing to guarantee the safety of our forces as they withdraw. I'm not sure there's any thing we can offer them. These are the most powerful countries on earth. Its not like they need us for any thing and its not like we are capable of thwarting any of their plans.

Even if we could reach some sort of agreement with them, how do we ensure they honor the agreement? The US faces massive and oftern hostile scrutiny from the world news media. Russia and China face no such scrutiny.

If the US is to survive let alone prsopers in the 21st century, it will need at least cordial relations with the world's top powers. A good place to begin would be withdrawing from what these countries consider to be their "back yard." Once the forces are withdrawn, they should be redeployed to defensible positions along our borders. The withdrawl should happen as soon as our transport vehicles and ships can get our personnel out.

We might also ask ourselves how Russia and China are able to maintain relatively cordial relations with Pakistan while we so far have been unable to do so? If we want to be the best, we should study the best?

Some of the success of Russia and China in this area may have to do with their military prowess which is far superior to ours. I don't think this explains it all though. Perhaps by studying their tactis, strategy, and weapons systems we might learn somehting.

If you want to be the best, study the best!! In our situation we may not be able to implement every thing Russia and China do nor would we necessarily want to but studying the best certainly would be a good place for us and our policy makers to start.